Data from the latest UK National Diet & Nutrition Survey shows that fruit and vegetables intakes remain low. In fact, when it comes to the 5-A-DAY recommendation only a small percentage of Brits meet this :
27 per cent of adults aged 19-64 yrs
35 per cent adults over the age of 65 yrs
Despite this, new research suggests that we may need to strive for 10 portions of fruit & vegetables each day to lower chronic disease risk. The article published in the International Journal of Epidemiology received much publicity and analysed data from 95 prospective studies measuring fruit and vegetable intakes and associated risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality.
Results revealed a reduction in disease & all-cause mortality with each 200g/day increase in fruit & vegetables. A daily intake of 800g (about 10 portions) was linked to:
o A 33% reduced risk of stroke.
o A 31% reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
o A 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
o A 24% reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
o A 14% reduced risk of total cancer.
Scientists concluded that an estimated 5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be attributed to fruit & vegetable intakes of less than 500 & 800g/day respectively. That said, it should be considered that the food frequency questionnaire used in this study could have ‘overestimated’ intakes fruit and veg. intakes ‘skewing up’ the amount reported in the study. Nevertheless, there is some value in these findings indicating that we make need to take another took at 5-A-DAY guidelines and ways to target and boost intakes to align with these.
For further information, see: Aune D. et al (2017) International Journal of Epidemiology 1-28